Fieldfisher has strengthened its Chinese presence by opening a new office in Shanghai with four partners, and said it will double its partner count in the city by June this year.
The new addition to the firm’s Chinese verein follows its merger with Beijing-based boutique JS Partners in November 2016.
Fieldfisher corporate partner Liang Xing will lead the new office, bringing expertise in competition law. In early 2016 Fieldfisher ended its previous relationship with Shanghai-based Ryser & Associates, which had operated since 2013.
Partners at the new office will be able to practise Chinese law, expanding the range of services that the firm can offer.
Two of the four new partners arrive from Fieldfisher’s Beijing office. Tax partner Baoen Bai and corporate partner Ming Zhang are accompanied by corporate associate Jie Kong. Corporate partner Xing and Rocky Wu both join from Chinese firms. Xing, previously of Baker McKenzie, Hogan Lovells and Taylor Wessing, arrives from Mylink. Wu, who had worked for Hogan Lovells and Bird & Bird’s associated Chinese firm, Lawjay Partners, joins from JT&N.
Fieldfisher said two partners are set to join the new office in March with another two arriving in June.
Fieldfisher China managing partner Zhaofeng Zhou (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘It was only natural for us to have an office in Shanghai. Chinese companies are starting to pay attention to the legal market.
‘We will combine international knowhow with local knowledge. Our lawyers are Chinese, and that will make the difference. We are able to focus on contentious work, unlike other international law firms. Because they do not have that local knowledge.’
Zhou also revealed that there are plans in place to open further offices in other major Chinese cities in the future.
Fieldfisher managing partner Michael Chissick added: ‘Since JS Partners became part of the Fieldfisher family in November, through a Swiss verein, we’ve been working closely to ensure continued growth of the firm in China – and the opening of a Shanghai office is a natural next step: cementing our Chinese presence and ensuring we are even better placed to serve both local and international clients.’
The international expansion compounds a busy start to the year for Fieldfisher, with the announcement of ‘Condor’, a software-based alternative legal service in January.
Fieldfisher added a lateral hire in January, appointing Thomas Lenné from Baker & McKenzie to its Brussels office. It also added Luther partner Sven Labudda to the Hamburg office at the start of this month. Prior to joining Luther in October 2013 Labudda worked at White & Case and Mayer Brown.